When I’m sixty four, I want to remember it all. Cornell has not been one story for me. It has not been one lesson for me. It has been a frenzied, beautiful time. It has been the greatest honor of my life so far. And it has been three and a half years that I do not believe I could ever possibly forget.
The line was at least 50 cars long. It moved forward at five miles an hour, at most, as one bumper followed another forward towards the terminal. There was no honking, no drivers rolling down their windows and yelling at other cars. Normally, you’d expect people to have less patience. But, as we slowly approached Boston Logan Airport, there was a sense that everyone had realized that this was something beyond normal traffic.
Cornell needs to do a better job of making its fitness centers accessible to students. From the fact that Cornell charges students for its gyms to the overcrowding at many locations, the system puts up far too many roadblocks for students to be able to exercise with ease and regularity.
Ithaca has been rainy lately. It feels like everyone is sick — either with COVID-19 or that classic mid-semester cold. The former is, of course, unrelated to the recent easing of masking and testing regulations on campus. And the latter is, naturally, unrelated to the inundation of prelims, essays and projects tumbling down from Canvas onto students during this time of the semester. We’ve reached the doldrums of spring at Cornell.
It’s been three weeks since my grandfather passed away. It didn’t feel real when it happened, and it still doesn’t. I keep waiting for it to sink in, to process somehow, yet the fact of his passing feels like an impossibility. Even now, struggling to write these words, it feels like a false statement to say that he’s passed. I’d like to attempt to explain why.
Tuesday, Feb. 8 … A day that will live in duckfamy.
It began as any other February day begins at Cornell — with the frigid Ithacan wind billowing and a sea of students trudging through muddy slush on their way to class. I was one of them. As we plodded along the sidewalk to class, hands shivering whilst scrolling absentmindedly through social media in a sleepy yet content boredom, we had little idea that day would be interrupted by a moment that would arrest us all in sheer fascination and perhaps even amazement.
Class that afternoon passed uneventfully. If we’d known what was to occur, maybe we would have been unable to focus.
By focusing on a semester as its unit of analysis, students are penalized if their academic requirements align such that they must take several particularly difficult courses in one semester. Sometimes a slight dip in GPA during one semester doesn’t mean anything other than that student took some extra tough classes.
But, when a high school applicant researches Cornell’s Performing and Media Arts Department, they first find Cornell’s history of gutting their funding. The major itself — encompassing film, theater and dance — was created after the Cornell administration slashed the department’s budget by a million dollars. Cornell took the Department of Theatre, Film and Dance and cut its budget so severely that it could not survive anymore. When I researched Cornell in high school, that is what I found. And that is why I initially didn’t see myself applying.
You’ve got three assignments due tomorrow, a full slate of Zoom meetings for the rest of the day, half a dozen internship applications still yet to be sent into the career portal void, a small mountain of laundry assembling around the foot of your bed and social plans tonight which you don’t really have time for—it’s that point of the semester. Luckily, you’ve had your two meager wellness days which have certainly recharged your batteries in much the same way that scooping a cup of water out of the ocean will stop rising sea levels. Buckle up, it’s the last month of the semester. As we enter these next few chaotic weeks, it’s important to pause and take a step back before diving into the academic fray. Beyond taking the time for the usual self-care of buying a new succulent and an embarrassing amount of frozen food at Trader Joe’s, we need to take a moment to recognize the mental consequences of the stress to come.
s a FYSA, you’re like any other Cornell first-year —you’re just starting in the spring rather than the fall. You’ll have orientation with all the other FYSAs and move-in shortly before school starts in January.